The Woodward News

Local News

March 14, 2014

Alabaster Caverns plans ‘batty’ festival

Woodward, Okla. — FREEDOM--It's that time of year when the staff at Alabaster Caverns State Park start to go a little batty.

That's because they're gearing up for the second annual "Bat Wing-Ding," a 2-day festival celebrating the only truly flying mammal, the bat.

This year's festival is set for April 11 and 12, with activities scheduled from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. each day.

The festival will offer the public an opportunity to get an up-close opportunity to see and study these sometimes mysterious nocturnal creatures.  Activities will include going into the cavern to observe the bats in their daytime roosts, where you can even become a member of N.C.I.S. - National Chiropteran Identification Society as you learn to identify the different bat species that call the caverns home.

At night, visitors will have the opportunity to accompany bat professionals as they try to net the bats for research and even later take a walk where they can listen to the bats using their echolocation to feed on insects overhead.

Throughout the festival there will also be a number of educational exhibits and programs, as well as interactive games, designed to help the public learn more about these furry flyers.  There will even be a traveling exhibit from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) titled "Bats, Bats, Bats: Oklahoma's Nightlife," where visitors can view live bats as well as bat skeletons and skulls and instruments used by researchers as they study different bat species.

All events in the "Bat Wing-Ding" festival will take place in and around the Alabaster Caverns' Clubhouse Shelter.  The festival activities are all free and open to the public.  

And everyone is encouraged to bring their questions, comments and cameras as they take advantage of this unique opportunity to commune with bats.

Below is the daily agenda for the 2-day festival.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Bats, Bats, Bats: Oklahoma's Nightlife" - in ODWC Trailer

Make a bat face, bat word search, bat crossword, bat maze - in Exhibit Tent No. 1

Feed the Bat games - in Exhibit Tent No. 2

Be a Bat Detective - Lower Picnic Area

"Oh, What a Web We Weave" (learning how to match up 4 aspects of a bat's world, including its color, roost, prey and predators to the different species) - Clubhouse Shelter

10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.

Bats of Oklahoma program (offering an introduction into the bat's world as well as dispelling rumors and answering questions about bats)

8:30 p.m.

Mist netting - in the cavern opening

10:30 p.m.

Acoustic bat walk (weather permitting) - Alabaster Caverns area

For questions and more information about the "Bat Wing-Ding" or other programs at Alabaster Caverns, call the state park at (580) 621-3381 or e-mail alabastercaverns@travelok.com.

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